How To Have An Adventure Without Spending Any Money

Mountain Oceans Poles

The number one thing people ask me about is how to get MONEY for an expedition.

And the number one reason for people not completing their expeditions has got to be MONEY.

It need not be like that.

By the end of this article I intend to show you how you can have an expedition without spending loads of money or, perhaps, without spending any at all.

Here goes…

Skiing to the South Pole or rowing across the Pacific Ocean will cost you tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of pounds. There is no way around that.

But there are plenty of expeditions you can do that don’t cost nearly as much.

With £1,000 you can have one hell of an adventure. I spent a month trying to scale huge unclimbed mountains in Kyrgyzstan for that much.

A thousand pounds is a lot of money. But it’s also just £20 a week for one year.

That’s the premise of Al Humphreys’ excellent Adventure 1000 project. He tells you how to do it here and highlights how easy it is to lose sight of what’s important here.

Here are a few things you could do for a thousand pounds:

– Sail from Denmark to Spain…

– Paddle solo down the Ganges…

– Hitchhike to the Congo…

– Kayak from Norway to Finland…

– Packraft out of Siberia…

– Cycle to Japan, on a grand tour or to the Gambia on a tandem…



– One month mountaineering in Kyrgyzstan…

– Cycle the length of Scandinavia… £400 including flights and kit

– Set a Guinness world record on a rickshaw (£300)…

– Pedal between and walk up the UK’s three peaks (£200)…

(If you like, you can see a complete list of how much each of my expeditions cost and how I funded them on the link below).

(And if you’re looking for a cheap expedition then a special mention should be made of cycle touring. Long bike trips cost an average of just £385 per month. If you don’t believe me then just check out the numbers for yourself on the Database of Long Distance Cycle Journeys).



Thousand pounds sound like a bit much?

Fair enough. I appreciate that £1,000 may just be a little more than many people can afford to spend on a glorified holiday.

But could you scrape together £100 / $150 / €125?

It will require a little more imagination but there are some truly wonderful things that you can get up to with a hundred quid in your pocket.

You could do any of these things…

– Hitch hike around the UK… I climbed a hill, swam in the sea, visited a new country and slept under the stars. Cost me £65.

– Two weeks’ cycle touring France… sleeping wild, shopping in hypermarkets. Bliss. £100.

– Run the length of every London Underground Tube line… just train fares to the start and from the finish

– Walk a lap of the M25… Al Humphreys’ fantastic urban adventure, £70.

– Make a crossing of Stradbroke Island… completed last month by two 14 year olds in Australia. £70.

– Traverse a remote stretch of the Great Wall of China… camping out at -15C in the snow. Just over £100.



The title of this article promised adventures for free.

£1,000 may be quite cheap for an expedition but it’s still a lot of money.

£100 is a bargain for an adventure but it’s still not free.

Here’s how to do it for free…

In May 2014, a young gentleman by the name of Tom Allen set himself the challenge of cycling the length of the UK without spending any money.

He literally left home without any cash (or credit/debit cards for that matter). He set off from Cornwall without a penny to his name and spent several weeks pedalling his way to Scotland, offering his skills and time in exchange for food and board. You can read Tom’s remarkable story here.

You may be thinking:: “Yeah but I bet he already had a nice bike and lots of fancy camping kit”…

Well, he did.

But he didn’t use any of it.

Instead, he’d previously challenged himself to build a bike for the cost of a round of drinks at the pub. For £25.17 he got a road worthy bicycle, panniers and camping kit. And you can read that remarkable story here.


Some more adventure ideas that don’t cost any money

You might not want to get a cheap bike and cycle Lands End to John O’Groats but there are plenty of other trips you can pull off without opening your wallet.

Here are a few trips I’ve done that you could just as well. They haven’t cost any more than a train fare or the lunch I would have eaten anyway.

– A triathlon from London to the Isle of Wight… borrowed/sponsored kit, volunteers on boat support and a family barbecue at the end. I just paid for a ferry and train ride back.

– Swim the Thames… I never finished it because I’m a crap swimmer and a wuss who gets cold but you could. It’s a great project and doesn’t cost a penny.

– Run 55 miles from London to the coast… I bought fish and chips at the end then caught a train home.

– Run to the height of Mount Everest at work… it was painful but it didn’t require any money

– Cross the Wahiba Sands desert… a full on desert expedition for the price of some petrol and a bit of food. I lived in Oman at the time but we all live somewhere!

And if you want more ideas, try:

– Microadventures… Al Humphreys has a fantastic set of cheap, overnight adventure ideas that anyone can try

– Everyday Adventures… a series of mini-adventures to fit into your evenings, lunch breaks, commutes and weekends.



You have seen the evidence above. People do great expeditions with £1000. People have great adventures for £100. And people even manage it without spending any money at all.

You could easily replicate any of the above ideas. You could do something similar, you could rip them off or you could come up with something completely different.

Any fool can burn thousands on long haul flights and expensive kit but adventure on a budget just takes a little more thought.

Adventure doesn’t exist solely on Himalayan peaks and polar ice caps. It exists wherever you put your mind to it.

Put your wallet away and your thinking cap on. Adventure awaits.


Click here to read the original article, see the photos and get all the links…

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments